Monday, September 20, 2010

Corn Sugar: Some quick facts and a few links

After years of experimentation corn, soft drink and junk food industry are finally getting their just deserved criticisms as they are a contemporary tobacco fight. Didn't the tobacco industry used to tell us that smoking was fine? Same thing here. The an industry akin to tobacco that is indeed, the next tobacco. Love this rebuttal video by the King Corn guys. The battle is on. While the words are flying, and Michelle Obama marches against obesity, here are some fun facts about the various sugars out there.

Beet Sugar
As 30% of the world's sugar resource, sugar beets have been cultivated for years for the extraction of their sugary sucrose. This plant was genetically modified to create Roundup Ready Sugar Beets but apparently the permit was repealed in 2009.

One of the healthiest, natural sugars, honey means that there are bees. Something which we are all lacking these days. In all parts of the country and world. This isn't a medical evaluation of the sugar. If you are interested in that, there are some great readers out there about honey, propolis and royal jelly that you should definitely read up on!

High Fructose Corn Syrup
No, you can't call it corn sugar. HFCS is a highly processed no-longer-natural sugar that Princeton has recently revoked the rights to. At least, that's why the industry promoting the syrup has just created an insidious ad campaign to fight people's adversity to their products. Their main line - no one knows what's wrong with it. Seriously? Where is the American Diabetes Association?

Molasses (high in iron), maple syrup and cane sugar are other alternatives to HFCS. But just because there's a "No HFCS" label on the front of a product's package, don't be fooled. Flip it over and you just might find "corn syrup." Ideally, the food system is getting rebalanced and the next Farm Bill 2010 (aka our taxes) will start to reflect our interest in eating healthfully. Right now the subsidies are skewing what food is most easily accessible. Check out this more journalistic approach about HFCS by Tom Laskawy on Grist:

If you would like more information about natural sweeteners, you've got to check out page 536 of Sally Fallon's "Nourishing Traditions," book and what she has to say about all of sugars variations. It's going to get ugly out there folks, and I hope the American Diabetes Association gets the funding, to voice their concern. At least, I hope that's why we haven't heard from them yet. I wonder who's on their board of directors...


  1. Here is a little bit more about how HFCS works in the body:
    And, by the way, agave nectar, although not as processed as HFCS or GE, has similar actions in the body because of the high fructose content.

    Good point about the Diabetes Association. I know the American Dietetic Association has not come out against HFCS (in fact they have shown support) because of their funders.

  2. thank you for writing about this whole crazy thing happening with 'corn sugar.' i am working on a blogpost about it too and i will definitely link here (and probably borrow that cute little corn, if that's ok!)
    aloha from maui!

  3. oooh, yet *another* reason to get my hands on a copy of Nourishing Traditions....

  4. Subsidies are not what skew the price, as abundant evidence shows, so subsidy reform does not at all fix the problem, and talk about subsidies misleads people into supporting cheap sugar and other cheap food & feed ingredients, export dumping, etc. To do so is essentially to support the AgBiz Protection Act for Cargill, Dean Foods, Kraft, ADM, Kelloggs, Tyson, Smithfield, etc. Instead of supporting agribusiness, when that is not at all the intention, advocates should learn about "the hidden farm bill" and the major "farm justice proposals." Only 2 organizations have offered proposals to fix cheap food and feed, the National Family Farm Coalition (Food from Family Farms Act) and the National Farmers Union (Market Driven Inventory System).